Al-Ustādh Janāb Shaikh Dr Haiderali Bhai Indorewala, one of the longest serving functionaries and khidmatguzārs (those who render service) of Daʿwat, passed away on Thursday, 15th March 2018, the eve (29th of Jumādā al-Ukhrā) of the ʿurs mubārak (death anniversary) of the 46th al-Dāʿī al-Mutlaq Syedna Mohammed Badruddin RA and the eminent Fatimi Chief Justice, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna al-Qādi al-Nuʿman b. Mohammed RA. He had the privilege of serving three incumbents to the office of al-dāʿī al-mutlaq during the course of his dedicated service.
Born in the city of Indore in 1352H (1933), Janāb Shaikh Haiderali Bhai was admitted to Darse Saifee (Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah’s previous name) in Surat in 1365H (1946). After graduating from the Dars with the al-Faqīh al-Jayyid (the Distinguished Jurist) degree in 1375H (1956), he continued his graduate education in Cairo at the world renowned Al Azhar University. In 1385H (1965), Janāb was honored with the title of ‘shaikh’ and a decade later, he was awarded the degree of al-ʿAlīm al-Jayyid (the Distinguished Scholar) which is reserved for only the most dedicated and sincere men of letters. Despite his many responsibilities and constant travel with Syedna, Janāb continued learning and imparting knowledge. In 1413 (1992), he completed a second Masters at Mysore University and in 1423 (2002) at the age of nearly seventy years, Janāb Dr Shaikh Haiderali Bhai completed a doctorate in Urdu literature at Mumbai University. In recognition of his long-standing and selfless service, he was conferred with the title of Nāsir Daʿwa al-Haqq (Aide to the Mission of Haqq).
A man of many talents, Janāb Shaikh Haiderali Bhai fulfilled versatile roles during his life in service. Following a brief period as a professor at Aljamea, he began his defining role as an assistant to the late rector of Aljamea Shahzada Yusuf Bhaisaheb Najmuddin QR as well as to His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS. Shaikh Haider Bhai was ever present throughout the 50 year tenure of the late Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, and after his wafāt (demise), he faithfully continued fulfilling his obligations to Syedna Burhanuddin’s RA heir and successor, the 53rd al-dāʿī al-mutlaq, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS. Janāb was committed to serving Syedna and helping others up until his very last day.
Janāb was in the service of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS when he was sent by his late father, Syedna Burhanuddin RA, to conduct the ʿAshara Mubaraka sermons in Indore in 1387H (1967). Shaikh Haiderali’s presence during Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin’s RA historic visit of North Africa in 1389H (1969) as well as Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin’s TUS historic travels in Yemen in 1391H (1971) speaks of his long standing legacy of service. Professor Uthman Kaʿak, a Maghribī intellectual who had accompanied Syedna Burhanuddin RA during the North Africa tour, had the following to say in praise of Janāb Shaikh Haiderali:
And then there is the legal expert, having special expertise in Islamic jurisprudence, a specialist in the knowledge of faiths, an active accomplisher, the revered al-Shaikh Haiderali, who balances agility and humility. We witnessed many noble virtues in him.
Janāb Shaikh Haiderali Bhai was deeply involved in the academic and administrative affairs of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah throughout his service which spanned six decades. He was a trustworthy confidant and a sagacious advisor to the rectors of the Academy and other Daʿwat dignitaries marked by his humility and perception. He also had a specific responsibility to oversee community development in Yemen which he visited time and again. As part of his secretarial responsibilities to Syedna, Janāb Shaikh Haiderali Bhai was responsible for organising and arranging marriages (nikah ceremonies) at the hands of Syedna.
His Holiness TUS honoured Janāb Shaikh Haiderali Bhai by leading his janāzah namāz (burial prayers) in al-Masjid al-Fatimi, Rawḍat Taherah, on Friday 29th of Jumādā al-Ukhrā. Community members and khidmatguzars gathered in large numbers for the janāzah namāz as well as for the burial rites held at the Nariyalwadi cemetery in Mumbai where he was laid to rest. Janāb Shaikh Haiderali’s life of khidmat, dedication and humility will serve as an example for students, faculty and all those associated to Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah for generations to come.